Commentary Archive

That’s A Wrap: Max Hoetzel


Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2014-2015 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Max Hoetzel.

Hoetzel (31 games): 2.4 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 51.8% eFG, 71.4% FT, 34.5 3PFG% in 7.7 minutes per game.

It was in Max Hoetzel’s first game at Indiana that the freshman showed what he could be for the Hoosiers.

Against Mississippi Valley State in the season opener, Hoetzel would score 19 points off the bench, five of his baskets coming from 2s and another from behind the arc. He also recorded nine rebounds (three offensive boards), along with an assist and a steal. But that was the most production the Hoosiers would see from Hoetzel all season.

A 6-foot-8 freshman originally from Calabasas, Calif, Hoetzel came into Indiana via Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.) Academy. And his coach, Chris Sparks immediately warned that the future Hoosier would have to improve his strength significantly.

It’s eventually what held Hoetzel out of significant minutes this season.


That’s A Wrap: Robert Johnson


Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2014-2015 Indiana Hoosiers. First up: Robert Johnson.

Johnson (34 games): 8.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 52.9% eFG, 65.1% FT, 38.8 3PFG% in 27 minutes per game.

A top 50 recruit from Richmond, Virginia, Robert Johnson came to Bloomington and made his impact felt immediately. We had our first glimpse at the role Johnson would occupy back in August during IU’s trip to Montreal when he did a little bit of everything in averaging 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game over five exhibition games.

The coaching staff showed confidence in Johnson from the season’s onset as he started in a three-guard set alongside Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr.

His second game in an IU uniform produced his best offensive output of the season as he torched Texas Southern for 21 points at Assembly Hall on 8-of-13 shooting. He also had three other key offensive performances in Big Ten play as he went for 14 at Nebraska in the conference opener, 20 at home in a win over Penn State and 19 at home in a win over Minnesota.

But while Johnson was effective as a scorer when he asserted himself, his role was more complementary than that of a featured piece of IU’s offense. With plenty of other offensive help around him, Johnson never forced the issue and often chose the role of facilitator rather than looking for his own shot. His overall numbers reflect that as he took 162 fewer shots than Blackmon Jr. despite playing only 72 fewer minutes on the season.


The Inside the Hall Mailbag: March 24


The Inside the Hall Mailbag is a collection of questions tweeted to us via Twitter (@insidethehall), via email, submitted on our premium forum and sent to us via our Facebook page. Submit your questions and we’ll answer as many as we can.

hoosierfan1 on the premium forum writes: Clearly Indiana has a lot of work to do to improve its defensive effectiveness for next season. In your opinion, what are the key issues that need to be addressed in the offseason to improve defensive effectiveness?

Obviously a rim protector would go a long way in helping to shore up IU’s defense around the basket, but most of the issues begin on the perimeter. The Hoosiers struggled to contain dribble penetration all season and IU’s help defense was poor as well. Without much ball pressure, IU didn’t force many turnovers nor did it contest shots nearly enough.

From what I saw up close – and I watched this team all the way from the Montreal trip in August through the final game on Friday – basic things like positioning and communication just weren’t there with enough consistency. Perhaps some of it was a result of youth, but given that IU’s defense never really made much improvement over the course of the season, that’s obviously not the entire issue.

Ultimately, the level of improvement is going to come down to how much the coaching staff is able to teach and emphasize what it wants to accomplish on that end of the floor and the players embracing what they are taught and realizing that without a major improvement on defense, the ceiling is only so high. – Alex Bozich


What to Expect: Wichita State


After missing the postseason altogether last season, Indiana makes its return to the NCAA tournament on Friday afternoon as the No. 10 seed in the Midwest Region. The Hoosiers will face No. 7 seed Wichita State, which last played on March 7 against Illinois State in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

The Shockers, ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press top 25 poll, are 28-4 and had a nine-game winning streak before falling in the MVC tournament. Friday’s tip time is scheduled for approximately 2:45 p.m. ET on CBS with Marv Albert, Chris Webber and Len Elmore on the call.

OMAHA, Neb. – Indiana finds itself in an unfamiliar position in the NCAA tournament. Unlike 2012 and 2013, when the Hoosiers were heavy opening-round favorites, this Indiana team is an underdog.

The combination of Indiana being slotted in as a No. 10 seed, which is higher than most anticipated, along with the the belief that Wichita State was under-seeded by the selection committee as a seven, has the Hoosiers as a 5.5-point underdog as of Thursday morning.


2015 NCAA tournament: Previewing Big Ten matchups


The Big Ten is sending half of its teams to the 2015 NCAA tournament, as seven of the league’s 14 teams were selected into the field of 68. Each of those teams also avoided the play-in games in Dayton, setting up match-ups on Thursday and Friday across the United States.

Wisconsin holds the highest seed out of any Big Ten team as the league’s regular season and tournament champion. At 31-3, the Badgers earned a No. 1 seed in the West region and get to play in Omaha, Neb., to open the tournament. Michigan State has become a trendy Final Four pick after its Big Ten tournament run and faces Georgia in the second round with a chance at playing Virginia in the round of 32. And Purdue, with a win over Cincinnati, could face undefeated Kentucky. Those are some of the storylines the Big Ten faces in the round of 64.

Below is a look at each Big Ten team’s opening matchup in the NCAA tournament:

No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 16 Coastal Carolina (Omaha, Friday, 9:20 p.m., TBS)

With their Big Ten tournament title, the Badgers earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and the right to play Coastal Carolina, a team that finished third in the Big South Conference, in the second round in Omaha. And the Badgers are big favorites for this one. The Chanticleers come into this game with a defense not particularly known for having great success — it ranks No. 162 in the nation in defensive efficiency at 1.02 points per possession allowed per game, and it will be going against the country’s No. 1 offense in Wisconsin.


First look: Wichita State Shockers


Indiana will face Wichita State in the NCAA tournament round of 64 on Friday in Omaha, Nebraska at the CenturyLink Center. We’ll have our in-depth What To Expect preview later in the week, but here’s a first look at the seventh-seeded Shockers.

Wichita State is located about 303 miles southwest of Omaha, so the Shockers should have a strong contingency of fans in the arena on Friday, especially with a potential matchup with Kansas looming on Sunday if they are to advance past Indiana. Gregg Marshall is in his eighth season at Wichita State and the Shockers were actually in the same bracket with Indiana back in 2012 in Portland, but were knocked off by VCU as a No. 5 seed.

This is the fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance for Wichita State and the program went to the Final Four back in 2013 where it fell to eventual national champion Louisville. Last season, the Shockers went undefeated in the regular season and earned a No. 1 seed, but were knocked off in their second game against eventual national runner-up Kentucky.

In a year in which it appears the NCAA tournament selection committee really valued who you played and who you beat, Wichita State’s lack of a marquee win over a major conference team is the likely reason it slid down to a No. 7 seed. Despite a lofty No. 14 national ranking by Ken Pomeroy and a top 16 ranking in the AP Top 25 all season, the Shockers only beat two NCAA tournament teams in the regular season: New Mexico State and Northern Iowa.


NCAA Selection Sunday primer: IU sweating out tourney fate


After a 1-1 split in Chicago at the Big Ten tournament that included a win over Northwestern and a loss to Maryland, Indiana still finds itself squarely on the bubble for the NCAA tournament.

The bracket will be revealed tonight at 6 p.m. ET on CBS, but we’ve compiled everything you need to know in one place in our Selection Sunday primer:


If Indiana makes the tournament, it will be on the strength of its overall schedule and some key wins over other teams that will be in the field. The Hoosiers have wins over Butler, SMU, Ohio State and Maryland, four teams that are solidly in the tournament. IU has two wins over the RPI top 25, four over the RPI top 50 and eight over the top 100.

Working against Indiana is its volume of losses (13), although only one of those losses came to a team not projected to make the field in Northwestern. IU avenged that loss convincingly on a neutral court at the Big Ten tournament. The Hoosiers also picked up seven of their nine conference wins over the bottom half of the Big Ten.


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